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Russia’s Navalny says prison has changed his status to “terrorist”

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Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Monday that a prison commission had designated him an extremist and a terrorist, but officially no longer regarded him as an escape risk.

Navalny said on Instagram that he had been summoned before a commission at the prison in Vladimir region, east of Moscow, which voted unanimously in favour of the change of status.

The designation marks a further escalation of official pressure against President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic critic, currently serving two-and-a-half years in prison for parole violations he says were trumped up to thwart his political ambitions.

Navalny made light of the announcement, saying that he welcomed the fact he was no longer designated as prone to escape and so would be subjected to less frequent and stringent night time checks by guards.

“I was afraid they would demand that I kiss portraits of Putin and learn quotes from (former president) Dmitry Medvedev by heart, but there’s no need,” he said in the post, which was published with the help of his lawyers.

“It’s just that there is now a sign over my bunk that I am a terrorist.”

via Reuters

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